Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022

Long Awaited Police Reforms: Rajasthan HC Issues Notice To The State Over The Constitution Of Police Complaints Authority

In 2006, the SC in a landmark judgment asked the Centre and the State Governments to constitute Police complaints authority for enhancing the accountability of the Police forces.

Rajasthan High Court
Rajasthan High Court File Photo

Amidst the crisis in the ruling party of the state and the speculations over the change in the guard, Rajasthan government got another blow as the High Court has today issued notices to the Rajasthan Chief secretary and the Home secretary asking why a police complaints authority has not been established in the state despite the directions of the Supreme Court in 2006. 

Hearing a petition by Sirohi MLA Sanyam Lodha, a Division Bench of Justices Sandeep Mehta and Kuldeep Mathur issued the notices. 

Lodha had demanded the setting up the authority to make the functioning of the force accountable and transparent. Citing the order of the Supreme Court in 2006, he said the directions were given to the Centre and state governments. 

The body at the district level was to be headed by a retired district judge to deal with complaints against police officers up to the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) rank, whereas the authority for the complaints against higher officers was to be formed under the chairmanship of a retired judge of the High Court or the Supreme Court.

The SC Judgment on Police Complaints Authority

Supreme Court in a landmark judgment in the case of Prakash Singh vs. Union of India asked both the central and the state governments to come up with Police Complaint Authorities. As per the reports submitted to the parliament by this government in March, 2016, only 16 states along with the UTs have complied to the order.

PAC is supposed to deal with the complaints against the Police officers of the rank of Additional Superintendent of Police and above. It is mandated to take cognizance of the serious offences and misconducts of the police personnel that may include anything ranging from grievous hurt to that of mass rape.

NHRC Recommendations on PCA

In November, 2021, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also asked the Union Home Ministry and the State Home departments to conform to the 15 years’ old judgment of the top court. In its advisory it emphasized on “immediate need to set up police complaints authorities at the State/UT and district level.”

NHRC body also asked the Home Ministry to consider including the recommendations of 113th report of the law commission to add section 114B to the current Indian Evidence Act. According to this proposed section, in the case of any injury inflicted on a person during the stay in prison, police personnel’s connivance will be presumed and to prove otherwise will be the responsibility of the authorities.

However, similar to the long awaited police reforms, the implementation of PAC is still a far reaching goal for most of the states including Rajasthan.

(With Agency Inputs)